When Amazon brought its high-tech service Echo to the scene last November, analysts knew its likely purpose: to get people to shop more on Amazon. The tool is viewed as the eCommerce conglomerate’s most high-profile, consumer-oriented foray into the Internet of Things thanks to the device’s ability to interact with a human voice to aid consumers in daily tasks – for example, updating their shopping list or activating a music stream. The service, however, was not directly connected to the ability to shop online. Until now.
The Echo has flown under the radar since its launch, but Amazon’s latest update of the gadget may produce more traction among tech-savvy consumers. Reports said Thursday (May 14) that Amazon has finally added the eCommerce aspect to Echo, allowing users to order or reorder items using simple voice commands.
The update means that now, consumers who ask Echo to update their shopping lists can actually carry out the shopping, too.
According to reports, Amazon analyzes previous orders registered to an Echo account. If a consumer wants to re-order that item, Echo will advise how much the item costs and place an order. The service is only available to Amazon Prime subscribers, however, so the only items available to order through Echo are those that are also available for order through Prime.
The gadget also has new, albeit limited, capabilities for consumers to order new items that aren’t in their purchase histories. Echo will suggest similar items if an item a consumer wants to reorder is out of stock. If neither is available, reports said Echo will add the request item to the shopping list and update that list for consumers that sign on to Amazon from their Web browser. Echo now also lets consumers cancel orders.
The latest update to Echo seems like an obvious one for such an eCommerce-centered company, so it is unclear why Amazon took so long to give the device the capability. When the product first launched, it cost $99; today, however, it is offered at the full retail price of $199.